2004 Vauxhall Agila 1.2 from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Good in many ways, but bad in some

Faults:

The Clutch. At about 4000 miles it started juddering when pulling away, especially if the weather was damp. This disappears after a few miles, but until then is disconcerting, particularly at roundabouts.

Dealers wanted to charge to look at it and reassemble it (~£500) and would only reimburse that fee should a fault be found which constitued a warranty claim. As such I have decided to live with it.

Fuel management light (outline of an engine icon) came on. Dealer wanted £75 just to diagnose, but the cause, somewhat surprisingly, turned out to be low coolant. Worth noting for you Vauxhall owners out there.

General Comments:

The car is very comfortable for my 6'7 frame, with plenty of room in an almost Tardis-like capacity. In fact with my height it is one of the few manual cars I can drive and in the past I've had to have automatics.

Visibility is good although it mists up more that other cars.

The mirrors are great and are electronically adjustable, but would benefit from being heated.

I feel the gear ratios could be improved. First seems too low and second is too high, meaning roundabouts take more planning than in other cars.

I didn't buy the car for its performance, which is just as well since compared to other budget cars like Ford's Fiesta it feels somewhat underpowered. It will reach an indicated 100mph, but feels strained and is noisy at motorway speeds although smoothness isn't an issue.

Handling is surprisingly good for something that looks like it should be top heavy. Get it right and you can negate the need to brake on a twisty road.

There's no doubt that it is an ugly looking thing and a blatant copy of Suzuki's Wagon R, but clutch aside, it scores highly on comfort, fuel consumption and ease of parking and is overall a recommendable package as long as your journeys are frequent, but short.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th October, 2007

6th May 2014, 14:30

Hi, I wrote this review back in 2007, and thought that since I still have the car, I'd give an update.

The car now has around 85000 miles on it and has been totally reliable engine wise. The only things to have gone wrong in the last 6 years are:

- One wheel bearing.

- Indicator relay.

- Reversing light (electrical issue not related to the bulb or switch).

- Recall in 2011 for the petrol tank.

There was also a metallic rattling that developed going round left hand bends, but I traced this to a metal brake disc shield catching on the rusted inner surface of the disc. I fixed it easily myself by removing the wheel and bending the shield slightly.

It's still on the original clutch, despite the juddering which continues to occur sometimes.

I still find this car supremely comfortable, which is why I still have it.

It does lack power and street cred, which can sometimes influence how other road users respond to you, and despite having the usual 5 seats, it's classed as a mini people carrier.

One niggle is the quality of the radio cassette player. For a start it didn't have auto-reverse, a feature which a 1990's Cavalier had. Moreover, it decided to eat one of my tapes and refuse to return it. I blame the poorly designed combined fwd/rev/eject buttons.

Nevertheless, I intend to keep this car as long as I can, and am disappointed that its successor appears to have sacrificed practicality for styling.